Air Force Special OPS plane carrying US Commandos makes “surprise” landing in Libya

A U.S. Air Force C-146A Wolfhound with SOF made an unannounced landing at an airbase in Libya.

Early in the morning on Dec. 14, a C-146A Wolfhound (US military designation of the Do-328), serial number 13097, registration N307EF, operated by the 524th Special Operations Squadron of the 27th Special Operations Wing, U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command, landed at al-Watiyah airbase southwest of Tripoli, Libya.

Interestingly, the aircraft carried a team of armed people wearing civilian clothes: according to some sources they landed at 6 AM on December 14 without any coordination with the local authorities and that’s why they were asked to leave. Although it was later confirmed that they were US SOF (Special Ops Forces) the reason of their “trip” to Libya has yet to be explained.

Moreover, it’s at least weird they somehow posed for photos that appeared on Social Media.

The aircraft could be tracked online flying northbound after the trip, using callsign “Magma 30.”

The C-146A can be frequently tracked online as it flies between Stuttgard and airports in southern Italy, especially Pantelleria, a little Italian island off Tunisia, sometimes used by a U.S. Beechcraft King Air 350ER carrying registration N351DY, the civil version of the MC-12W ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) platform operated by the U.S. Air Force, flying missions over the western Tunisia regions (where jidahist terrorists behind the Bardo Museum attack have been hiding).

Noteworthy, the C-146A flew again towards Libya later on the same day from Pantelleria island.

Top image, screenshot from

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Lately being in the armed forces is all about driving around on special vehicles taking selfies and spending fancy tools (weapons included) at the expense of taxpayers to no military benefit/need than anything serious.

    Low fly-byes at a pricetag of at least 20K per flight hour, using 5-6 JDAM at 100K a shot to wipe out a flag, dating around in front of cool vehicles in cool attire for a Facebook photoshots to show to the kids on Christmass, firing a 1mil USD missile to hit some mud made huts at 300 Km away when they have no air defense…

  2. You can also see in flightradar24 MAGMAxx aircraft flying to and from Chania airbase in Crete and RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. MAGMA displacements in the Mediterranean sea are very common these days. Geologists must be puzzled

    Here you have two more photos of the “event” from the Libian Air Force Facebook page.
    I’m not very sure if exposing the faces of any country’s armed forces members it’s a good idea. At least while they aren’t doing anything illegal

  3. Meanwhile the “real” insertion of special operators land somewhere else without notice due to this diversion tactic.

  4. I live on Pantelleria. Yes, there is an expensive airplane here with its support crew. No one has seen a single actual “soldier”…the locals perceive those who are here as non military operatives. We have a nice little airport with a military (nato) secure section. We are just 25 miles or so from
    the tip of Tunisia. Whoever these people are they keep a very low profile. Are rarely seen in the village. No one has ever seen a uniform. Pantelleria is a very small island. 35 miles or so in circumference. Has had a solid, international rated airport since before ww2. About 6-8,000 locals (Pantesche), is a part of Italy, under admin control by Trapani (Sicilia). Very little actual mafia here. All village and place names are in arabic. Housing, traditional houses, of arabic design.Moderately popular with the Italian tourist set, though tourism has gone done by 70% or more in recent years. I am an American, Vietnam era vet, HHQ 1/18, 1st Inf Div, 91 charlie. Very few Americans here. They really stick out.

Comments are closed.